“Cuban Cinema to be Celebrated at the Academy,” gushes a fresh press release from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “The Academy will present “A Celebration of Cuban Film” tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Hosted by Los Angeles Film Festival artistic director David Ansen, the program will feature film clips, an onstage discussion with visiting Cuban directors.”
“As part of an ongoing cultural exchange with Cuban film institutions the exhibit will install the new exhibition Cuban Film Posters: From Havana to the World. All of these posters have been donated by ICAIC (Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos) to the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library. This exhibition is an outgrowth of the educational and cultural exchange with film professionals in Cuba.”
Professionals indeed! The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuba spycatcher Christopher Simmons (now retired) ranked Castro’s KGB-trained DGI (Directorio General de Inteligencia) as among the top five spy agencies in the world. And in a 1983 FBI debriefing, DGI defector Jesus Perez Mendez identified Cuba’s ICAIC (Film Institute) as an invaluable arm of that DGI– founded, funded and mentored by the Soviet KGB.
At least Hollywood’s more candid nowadays. Or maybe today’s Academy is oblivious of the first and fifth amendments, so useful to so many of their colleagues during the HUAC hearings of the 40’s and 50’s? Or maybe blatant partnering with Stalinists is back in Hollywood vogue (as if it ever wasn’t.)
“The Cuban Film Institute was formed soon after the revolution in 1959,” continues the Academy’s flyer. Of course, this film institute serves as propaganda arm of a Stalinist regime that murdered more political prisoners in its first three years in power than Hitler’s murdered in his first six, jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s, converted a nation more prosperous than half of Europe into one that repels Haitians, sponsored terrorism for half a century, and came closest to nuking the United States. In fact, the Castro regime and its Film Institute were probably mentored and funded by some of the very same personages (as KGB agents in 1959) who (as NKVD agents in the 30’s) mentored Dalton Trumbo, Ring Lardner, Alvah Bessie, etc.
The Castro Film Institute’s bona-fides are also extolled by actor Benicio del Toro. While presenting the film Che at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater two years ago, Del Toro warmly thanked and lauded Castro’s Film Institute for their constant and invaluable tutelage during the 7 years that he and Steven Soderbergh crafted their 4 hour hagiography of Che Guevara.
“Presented in partnership with the Los Angeles Film Festival’s Cuban Spotlight, “continues The Academy’s flyer, “the program will bring together contemporary Cuban directors including…Estela Bravo.”
For the record: Estela Bravo has lived off and on in Havana since 1959 and functioned as an executive in Castro’s Oficina de Publicaciones Consejo de Estado (Publication Office of Cuba’s Council of State, another DGI agency.) For obvious reasons Ms Bravo’s film are among the most widely shown in Fidel Castro’s fiefdom. Cuban dissidents refer to her a “Fidel’s Personal Documentarian.” Along with the usual Cuban-exile bashing, in one of her documentaries Estela Bravo features Jimmy Carter’s top Cuba diplomat, Wayne Smith, claiming, “If elections were held today (in Cuba) he (Fidel Castro) would probably still win.”
Note the word, “still.” Bravo’s documentary implies Castro would win again—apparently just like in all those other Cuban elections he’s won! This documentary also showed Cubans expressing immense gratitude to Fidel Castro for allowing them to return to Cuba from their horrible ordeal in the U.S. after the Mariel refugee exodus. As Dave Barry used to write: “I swear I’m not making any of the above up!”
“Cultural exchanges with foreign countries,” reads a declassified KGB document from May, 20, 1981, “are our most effective propaganda.”
“We cannot for a second abandon propaganda” wrote Fidel Castro in a letter to revolutionary colleague Melba Hernandez in 1954. “Propaganda is vital — propaganda is the heart of our struggle.”